Thursday, December 3, 2015

Around the World Advent Calendar

Advent always kicks off at our house with a visit to Santa and Mrs. Clause. It was raining this year so we had to meet them indoors instead of in front of the giant outdoor fireplace we usually do, but I still feel like we are pretty lucky to have such an excellent experience. This is the third year in a row to see santa in this particular location. (and the same Santa and Mrs. Clause too)

All of that being said, the night before meeting Santa, I whipped out the Christmas folk pinafore Scarlett is wearing. I actually ordered the trim for it and the matching white clogs before my Small World/Around the World Christmas theme ever came about. I also made a little folk cap to match that I found in a vintage craft magazine I had purchased several months ago. The inspiration for the pattern is said to have come from the authors great-grandmother from Lillehammer Norway, and the original garment was made in the late 19th century.

I know there are many different ways to celebrate advent. We started doing our advent calendar about two years ago. It started out being mostly activities and crafts. The first year we wore ourselves out going to every Christmas activity I could find within a 30 mile radius. I was so burned out after two weeks that I decided to make it easier from now on and focus mostly on crafts and books. It still takes a lot of time and planning, but It's worth it because Scarlett loves it!

This years activities are focusing on the cultures and Christmas traditions of Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, and Norway. I was lucky enough to snag several books from the library that made my life so much easier.

Each book talks about traditional folklore, songs, decorations, and even foods from each country. One days advent activity is to read the book from that particular country, and the following 2-3 days are spent making crafts or recipes from the book. 

The crafts are excellent. They are all fairly cheap, and use items you already have around the house. For example, these babushka dolls are made by doing paper mache on empty soup cans of various sizes, then painted. (also making it a two day activity....wahoo!!)

Of course every day of our advent is not cultural crafts. I did manage to buy a few kits from the craft store and wrap them up. It makes it a fun surprise for Scarlett to open them up, but I prefer the ones from the library books.

This is the advent tree my husband made for me a few years ago. It's not really anything unique, but it's sturdy and does the job of holding all the crafts we need for advent. (I'm about 99% sure it was a pinterest project). I know technically you're supposed to start at the bottom and count your way backwards, but it is easier for me to keep track of it by date and also keeps my child from sneaking things off the tree early. (which is a common thing for her to do) Closer to Christmas after we finish up reading about different cultures, we will finish up advent by talking about Jesus and why we celebrate Christmas as Christians. 
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Monday, November 23, 2015

Small World Christmas Mantel

Our Christmas decor is officially up! I'm so excited to have the crazy crafting mess cleaned up that had my home in absolute chaos for TWO WEEKS!! This year we decided that our decor needed a little updating. The Christmas mantel has remained the same for three years now, so I really wanted to change things up a bit. The whole theme evolved from a dala horse I found at a thrift store.

I was SO excited when I found dala horse. I knew it meant that my Scandinavian/Around the World Christmas theme was meant to be! I picked new colors this year and settled on the teal and red after finding my stocking fabrics at Joann Fabrics. We had a little trouble finding Christmas decor in our color, but were able to piece together a few things from Hobby Lobby and the at Home store (formerly Garden Ridge).

Most of the pieces on the mantel we had to make. (hence the crafting mess) The windmill was previously a birdhouse that I was no longer using for decor. My husband made the windmill part out of craft wood from hobby lobby and popsicle sticks, and I painted it. At first I was using the cheap craft paints from Wal-Mart, but it was taking so many coats we switched to the $3 Behr paint samples from Home Depot. We were able to custom mix our colors, and got a much better quality paint for three bucks. 

The center piece was by far the most work. My husband made it out of mdf and hand painted it. He also made the little eskimo children by hand. The ducks were thrift store finds with a shot of white spray paint.

We also made a hot air balloon out of an upside down christmas ornament, and a wood craft basket from Hobby Lobby. The tulips were also thrift store finds that I painted to match our theme. 

Overall it was really fun to make, and I wouldn't do a thing differently! Of coarse it does not represent every country from small world, but instead Scandinavia, Russia, the Netherlands and the cold weather countries. I'm really excited to incorporate the new theme into our advent calendar this year, I'll post about that later though:)

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Halloween Costume--The Mad Hatter

         This Halloween was EPIC. I hope it was the type of Halloween Scarlett will remember forever, after all, isn't that what it's all about?? I'll have to start by admitting to you that my husband and I are a tiny bit obsessed with our child's Halloween costume. I suppose the mixture of artist and seamstress makes for some interesting costume building (and a little bickering if I'm completely honest);)

With all of THAT being said, I'll share with you last year's costume. Maleficent.

The dress is handmade, and my husband made the horns. It was the first year that we collaborated on Scarlett's Halloween costume. We decided that this year had to be BETTER. I was panicked. Scared. downright TERRIFIED. Especially when friends on Facebook started saying stuff like, "I've been waiting all year to see what you come up with" Oh crap.

And here Scarlett is as the mad hatter. We were SO happy with how it turned out. Fun, and actually easy to pull off.

Costume breakdown:

Hat- E-bay is where I got mine, but the same hat can be purchased Here.
(There is a child version and an adult version of this hat)
Coat- Handmade by me. I just happened to have this coat that was way too small for Scar, but if I had not already had it, I would have picked up something at the thrift and sewed the lace into the sleeves.
Tie- Vintage from a flea market
Undershirt- thrifted
Pants- Handmade by me. (Once again, they just happened to be in the donation pile because they were flooding on Scar. I would have thrifted some pinstripe pants if I had not already had them.)
Thread bandelier- Made by me. All I did was take thread spools and threaded them on fishing line to hold them together.
Hair- Pink Manic Panic (Bought from Sally's Beauty Supply, but can be found Here. STILL trying to get this out of her hair 2 weeks later)
Socks- Old striped stockings that were too small so I cut them up.
Boots-We wore a combo of two different boots with this costume. Dr. Martens and Steve Maddens
We of coarse already had the boots, but I included links because we get a lot of people asking where they came from.
Make-up- Cheap costume make-up from Wal-Mart. (Scarlett's face broke out after 3 days of wearing this, so I would buy a better quality next time)

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